WordCamp Volunteer Roles

Have a sign up area on your blog for volunteers with volunteer job descriptions. If you are able, offer them free admission or half price as an incentive (but don’t advertise that on the site!). Make sure to ask volunteers during sign up what roles they’re comfortable doing, when and how many hours they’d like to volunteer, and if there are any speakers they just can’t miss.

The number of volunteers needed will depend on the size of your event, the layout of your venue, and more. On average, it will generally end up being about 5-10% of your total attendance.

Create a volunteer schedule with the roles and times they are needed. It’s generally good to break everything into about 2-hour blocks, so volunteers can see sessions and socialize during the event. Volunteers will likely be asked to work more than one time block, though. You can either fill out your schedule and ask volunteers to confirm it, or you can ask volunteers to add their names to the schedule (via a Google Spreadsheet), first come first serve.

During the week before your event, have a volunteer orientation to make sure everyone knows what they’re doing and answer any questions they have. This is a great opportunity for your volunteers to start to get to know each other.

These are some of the roles that you might want to consider for your WordCamp Volunteer Staff. Depending on the size of your event, some of them could be covered by the same volunteer.

Pre-event setup

Should ideally be at/near the venue on the day or evening before WordCamp.

  • Sort/fold t-shirts
    • Fold/roll the shirts in a way that makes them easy to grab
    • T-shirts should be sorted by size into separate containers.
  • Sort badges
    • Badges should be sorted by last name.
    • Otherwise, there might be confusion if, for example, Beth doesn’t remember she signed up as Elizabeth, or if someone signed up using a nickname.

Morning Setup

Arrive about an hour before registration begins to help get everything set up at the venue.

  • Put out any signs that are needed.
  • Set up the registration area
  • Lay out swag on swag table
  • Move boxes and perform any other necessary tasks.

Greeters/Traffic Directors

  • Stand outside the venue entrance to direct attendees to the right location.
  • Depending on venue layout, volunteers may be stationed throughout the venue to guide attendees and direct traffic flow.

Registration

  • Registration tables will be divided alphabetically by last name.
  • Ask the attendee their last name, and find their badge.
  • Check them off of the attendee list.
  • Tell them where lanyards are, and other important info.

Swag

(Can often be handled by registration volunteers)

  • Keep swag (t-shirts, stickers, etc.) organized.
  • Give out t-shirts based on attendee preferences, if applicable.
  • Replenish swag tables/areas as needed.

Session Emcee

  • Greet speakers before their sessions.
  • Notify a lead organizer if a speaker is not present 10-15 minutes before their talk.
  • Help speakers connect their tech (microphone, projector, audio, etc.).
  • Introduce speakers before their sessions.
  • Make announcements as necessary.
  • Great if you want to watch sessions in a particular room.

Video Operators

  • Locate, set up and operate video cameras.
  • Work with Speaker to ensure their audio comes through to the camera.
  • Coordinate with the Emcee to start/stop recording.

Microphone Runners

  • Bring the microphone to attendees during Q&A.
  • Ensure as many attendees as possible get their questions answered.
  • Great if you want to watch sessions in a particular room.

Session Time Keepers

  • Introduce yourself to each speaker, so they know where to look.
  • Notify speaker with signs when 15, 10, 5, minutes, etc.
  • Politely, but firmly, remind speakers that time is up if they go over time.
  • Great if you want to watch sessions in a particular room.

Session Tweeters

  • Tweet a few quotable moments and photos from each talk.
  • Great if you want to watch sessions in a particular room.

Food/Beverages

  • Arrive early before attendees will be expecting food.
  • Help with setup and cleanup of food and beverage stations.
  • Keep traffic flowing through food/beverage stations.

Floaters/Casual Runners

  • Be available and easily contacted throughout the event.
  • Floaters may be asked to fill in to any role.

Other Considerations

Depending on your venue, you might want to consider some of the following things when determining your volunteer schedule:

  • Volunteer Thanks (gift, dinner)
  • Registration – Separate from t-shirts?
  • Head volunteer assistant (someone who doesn’t do WordPress so wouldn’t care about missing all the sessions)
  • Role / Station Managers
  • Take into consideration whether volunteers are local or not. If not, aim at do volunteers application and selection 4 months before the event to allow them to book cheaper flights / hotel rooms.
  • Volunteers should be readily identifiable, via a different color shirt, hat, etc.
  • For larger events, have someone to manage a large station, such as Registration, or the Happiness Bar.
  • Green Room, Bag Check, for larger events.
  • Airport Pickups
  • Hotel Shuttles

WordCamp Organizer Roles

WordCamp organizing committees have several different roles. Bigger WordCamps might want separate people for each one of these roles. Smaller WordCamps might only need 3-5 people to fill all of these roles. Here is a list of all of the roles and their responsibilities, skills, and when in the process they will be busy.

Lead Organizer

  • oversee the entire organization of WordCamp
  • maintain the goals, vision and tone of the WordCamp
  • be the main point of contact between WordCamp central and the organizing committee
  • choose and coordinate the organizing committee
  • make sure everyone is doing what needs to be done
  • it is highly recommended that the lead organizer delegate as much organizing as possible, although some lead organizers prefer to do a lot of the work themselves
  • if other members of the organizing committee drop balls, either pick them up or assign them to someone else
  • requirements: organizational skills, communication skills, diplomacy, patience, ability to see big picture
  • only one person should perform this role
  • This role requires lots of work at every step of the process
  • This person will not be able to attend talks at WordCamp

Budget Wrangler

  • keep an eye on all income and expenses to make sure the budget is balanced
  • discuss expenses with other organizers and approve their expenses
  • collect invoices from other organizers and send them to WordCamp Central in time
  • coordinate with sponsor wrangler to make sure all invoices are sent and paid
  • requirements: organizational skills, financial skills, attention to detail, ability to stand firm on financial decisions, thick skin, ability to see big picture
  • only one person should perform this role
  • this role requires work throughout the entire organizing process
  • this person will be able to attend talks at WordCamp

Speaker Wrangler

  • be responsible for all coordination of and communication with the speakers
  • publish a call for speakers
  • recruit speakers through a variety of means (emails, personal communication, posting call for speakers, workshops)
  • collect the speaker submissions
  • anonymize submissions and send them to the people who choose the speakers
  • communicate with speakers about whether or not their proposal was accepted, logistical details of speaking, etc.
  • coordinate with other organizers to create the schedule
  • put information about speakers and their talks on the website
  • collect slideshows from the speakers and review them for typos, inappropriate content, and make sure they content matches the description
  • help plan speaker/sponsor dinner
  • (optional) choose/purchase speaker gifts
  • on the day of WordCamp, make sure speakers are happy and have everything they need
  • requirements: communication skills, organizational skills, knowledge of people in the community
  • this role can be performed by more than one person
  • this role requires work throughout the organizing process
  • this person may be able to attend talks at WordCamp, but might be busy helping speakers if they need it

Sponsor Wrangler

  • research and reach out to potential sponsors
  • put information about sponsorship levels on the website
  • put information about sponsors on website
  • coordinate with budget wrangler to send invoices to sponsors
  • follow up with sponsors to make sure they have paid their invoices
  • communicate with sponsors about rules for WordCamp sponsorships and logistics of sponsorship
  • (optional) help plan speaker/sponsor dinner
  • schmooze with sponsors at WordCamp
  • requirements: good communication skills and not being afraid to ask for money
  • this role can be performed by more than one person
  • this role requires more work towards the beginning of the organizing process
  • this person will be able to attend talks at WordCamp

Volunteer Wrangler

  • put call for volunteers on website
  • recruit volunteers through email, personal contact, meetup announcements, etc.
  • collect a list of all of the volunteer roles required
  • create the volunteer schedule
  • communicate with volunteers about their roles and logistics
  • (optional) coordinate volunteer swag or party
  • provide volunteer training (in person, Google hangout, or both)
  • requirements: good organization and communication skills
  • this role can be performed by more than one person
  • this role requires more work towards the end of the organizing process
  • this person will probably not be able to attend talks at WordCamp

Food Wrangler

  • research and choose a caterer
  • choose and order food (lunch, perhaps snacks and beverages)
  • collect information from attendees about dietary preferences and order food accordingly
  • coordinate with venue and caterer to make sure venue has the facilities the caterer expects
  • coordinate with the budget wrangler to send invoices to WordCamp central
  • serve food at WordCamp
  • requirements: good organizational skills
  • this role can be performed by more than one person
  • this role requires more work towards the end of the organizing process
  • this person will probably not be able to attend talks at WordCamp

Communicator

  • create all WordCamp-related communication
  • write blog posts for the WordCamp website
  • use social media such as Twitter to promote WordCamp
  • this role can be performed by more than one person
  • this role requires work throughout the organizing process
  • this person will be able to attend talks at WordCamp (and live-tweet them!)

After-Party Planner

  • research and choose a venue for the after-party
  • (optional) choose a caterer, if needed
  • coordinate logistics of getting people from WordCamp to the after-party
  • stay sober at the after-party and stay for the entire after-party to supervise the event
  • coordinate with the budget wrangler to send invoices to WordCamp Central
  • requirements: good organization skills
  • this role can be performed by more than one person
  • this role requires more work towards the end of the organizing process
  • this person will be able to attend talks at WordCamp

A/V Wrangler

  • decide whether your WordCamp will use WordCamp Central’s A/V equipment or hire an A/V vendor
  • if the former, coordinate the transport of A/V equipment and training of volunteers to use it
  • if the latter, research and hire an A/V vendor
  • coordinate with the venue and A/V vendors to make sure you have all the equipment and resources you need, including microphones, projectors, etc.
  • coordinate and train volunteers
  • coordinate with speaker wrangler to make sure all speakers sign A/V release and have the equipment they need
  • get equipment set up and functional on the day of WordCamp
  • deal with equipment problems on the day of WordCamp
  • upload videos to WordCamp.tv
  • requirements: good organization skills, good communication skills, patience, knowledge of video equipment, ability to stay calm under pressure
  • this role can be performed by more than one person
  • this role requires more work towards the end of the organizing process
  • this person will not be able to attend talks at WordCamp (or if they do, they will be filming the talks)

Graphic Designer/Developer

  • Design the website and logo (or adapt a design from another WordCamp)
  • develop the website or work with a developer
  • design the badges, signs, swag and other visual assets
  • requirements: good design skills and ability to meet deadlines
  • this role can be required by more than one person
  • this role requires more work towards the beginning of the organizing process
  • this person will be able to attend talks at WordCamp

Signage, Badges and Printing Wrangler

  • design signage and badges (or coordinate with the designer to get these designs)
  • choose a printer and order from the printer
  • coordinate with the budget wrangler to send invoices to WordCamp central
  • bring printed materials to WordCamp
  • alphabetize badges, if needed
  • requirements: the ability to meet deadlines
  • this role can be performed by more than one person
  • this role requires more work towards the end of the organizing process
  • this person will be able to attend talks at WordCamp

Contributor Day Planner

  • find a venue for Contributor Day (if necessary), and make sure venue has everything you need
  • find people to introduce and lead the different contributing teams at Contributor Day
  • (optional) coordinate with food wrangler to serve lunch
  • requirements: good communication skills and people skills
  • this role can be performed by more than one person
  • this role requires more work towards the end of the organizing process
  • this person will be able to attend talks at WordCamp

Swag Coordinator

  • choose and order swag
  • coordinate with budget wrangler to send invoice to WordCamp central
  • requirements: the ability to meet deadlines
  • this role requires more work towards the beginning of the organizing process
  • this person will be able to attend talks at WordCamp

Registration Wrangler

  • decide upon information to be collected
  • set up tickets and coupon codes
  • open ticket sales
  • communicate end of refunds and registration changes to community
  • close registration and export data for badges and check-in
  • oversee registration volunteers and check-in
  • record attendance data
  • requirements: organization and people skills
  • the role requires more work towards the end of the organizing process
  • this person will not be able to attend talks at WordCamp

 

Hello world!

Hi folks. We’ve talked about having a WordCamp Organizer’s Handbook for a while now, and finally we’ve got this site up and running. We will be adding more content to the pages as we hear from past and current organizers about what information they wish they’d had in advance, and will clarify anything included in these pages that is unclear. We’ll also be adding a forum to the site to allow past, current, and future organizers to discuss things that have worked for them and give each other advice. The forum will run on the new bbPress plugin, so that will be pretty exciting.

If you see any big gaps in information here, please let us know. It’s possible that we’re already working on a new page to cover it, but it might be something under our radar, so your feedback is greatly encouraged. Leave a comment on this post, or use on the most relevant page. You can also reach us at support@wordcamp.org.

This blog will announce when we’ve added new information to the site, when there’s news that will affect all WordCamps, if there’s a business interested in supporting upcoming WordCamps, and other items of general interest to organizers. We’ll also use this blog for updates about the WordCamp.org platform, as we continue to build on it and make it even easier for you to manage your WordCamp site.

So, welcome to the site, and we hope it helps!